Bookshelf provides descriptions and notices of recent publications on Pennsylvania subjects.

Canoeing on the Juniata, 1888

by Henry K. Landis
Pennsylvania Histori­cal and Museum Commission and Landis Valley Associates, 1993 (68 pages, cloth, $15.95)

Elizabeth F. Johnson, who wrote the introduction to Canoeing on the Juniata, 1888, describes Henry K. Landis (1865-1955) as “a collector, recorder, keeper, and lover of history.” Throughout his long life, he sustained a keen interest in natural, cultural, technological, and state history, as well as in writing, sketching, and photography. This journal of a canoe trip made with his younger brother George Landis (1867-1953) and mentor H. Justin Roddy (1856-1943) during summer 1888 combines Henry’s appreciation of ordinary, everyday history; his seemingly insatiable appetite for adventure; and his boundless curiosity. The son of moderately prosperous Pennsylvania German parents living in Lancaster County, Henry K. Landis enjoyed advantages atypical for a youth in the nineteenth century. In his autobiography, a narrative written in the third person when he was more than seventy years old, Landis remarked on his childhood: “One of the features of the writer’s early life which was unusual was the diversity of interests and opportunities which prevailed. His parents were not strict, but unusually liberal.” He elaborated on his sense of ad venture and fierce individualism in a revealing passage in which he specifi­cally mentioned camping trips. “These things boys read about in the papers,” he wrote, “devoted to the young people, stories of adventure which involved scientific ideas such as Jules Verne’s novels … Naturally, when a boy reads about such things he tries to do them himself … Thus, when a canoe was described, the two boys built a canoe; when a good article on camping appeared, the desire at once was to carry it out, and consequently tents were made and a camping outfit gotten together, mostly homemade, and for a number of years there was an annual camping excursion, sometimes by canoe.” It was during one such “excursion” made by the brothers and Roddy, a professor and friend, that Landis painstakingly docu­mented the daily activities with diary entries, sketches, and photographs. Canoeing on the Juniata, 1888, is presented in its original form, transcribed from Landis’ diary in the collections of the Landis Valley Museum (of which the Landis’ collections served as the nucleus). In this journal, Henry K. Landis provides a list of the party’s camps (including Camp Mosquito and Dead Pine Camp) and inventories of “Articles taken on trip,” such as clothing, provisions (six cans of oysters, four cans of salmon, two pounds of tea biscuits, four lemons, two dozen eggs, one quart of port wine, and one peck of pota­toes, among others), tent equipage, boat furniture, cooking utensils, photographic equipment, and miscellaneous supplies (compass, musical instruments, and “An abun­dant supply of good humor”). Landis, who estimated that the cost of this trip totaled twenty­-five dollars, chronicled the entire expedition which began at McVeytown, Mifflin County, on Monday, July 30, and ended down river at Harrisburg on Tuesday, August 14. In addition to describing the region’s rugged scenery and abundant wildlife, he offered glimpses of the people his party routinely encountered: berry pickers, canal boat operators, loggers, railroad workers, and picnick­ers. Canoeing on the Juniata, 1888, is enhanced by images made by Henry K. Landis during the summer sojourn (and now part of the collec­tions of the Landis Valley Museum). He captured views of the various camps, the river and the canal, a sawmill, a loggers’ cabin, a canal boat, and scenes of daily camp life. Canoeing on the Juniata, 1888, will delight naturalists and hikers, students of Pennsylva­nia history, and canal and railroading buffs with Landis’ thoughtful – and often humorous, if not irreverent­ – commentaries and his striking photographs. The original flavor of the diary has been preserved, along with its grammar, misspellings, and jargon. Many of Henry K. Landis’ drawings which illustrated the journal are also included.


Suburb in the City

by David R. Contosta
Ohio State University Press, 1992 (353 pages, cloth, $35.00)

Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990, is the story of how a small milling and farming settlement evolved to become both a suburban enclave for wealthy Philadel­phians and a part of the city itself. In 1854, the railroad connected Chestnut Hill and Philadelphia, and the city annexed the village. Persuaded by the romantic currents of the age, the wealthy men and women who moved to Chestnut Hill believed that the village’s semi-rural surroundings might uplift them physically, spiritu­ally, emotionally, and morally. At the same time, they wanted to continue to enjoy the best that the city had to offer, while escaping from its more unpleasant aspects – dirt, crime, disease, and other shortcomings. They thus cultivated a dual identity with both suburb and city which, ironically, led to a sense of division as prosperous subur­banites held themselves aloof from the resident shopkeepers and domestic servants who provided so many of their creature comforts. Being a suburb in Philadelphia also meant that Chestnut Hill could not control its political destiny, as a community outside the municipal Limits could. In response, residents formed a number of civic organizations that became a sort of unofficial, quasi-government. Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990, illuminates the divided and often ambivalent attitudes that Americans have toward their great cities. The author includes anecdotes gleaned from dozens of interviews with individuals of diverse backgrounds – lawyers, nuns, debutantes, grocers, craftsmen, and former ser­vants – who tell of their lives in Chestnut Hill. More than one hundred photo­graphs – many never before published – enliven this analysis of suburban America during its formative years and throughout its century and a half of evolution.


Reflections of a Digger

by Froelich Rainey
The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1992 (309 pages, cloth $22.50)

According to its author, Reflections of a Digger: Fifty Years of World Archaeology is an account of “one man’s journey through most of the twentieth century … colored by a preoccu­pation with the discovery of traces of men in the past.” The author’s journey begins on his father’s ranch in Montana, but his taste for adventure soon takes him from Yale University to throughout the world. In 1929, he sails to Shanghai on a tramp steamer. Later travels take him to archaeological sites in North Africa, the West Indies, the Artie, and during Army service in World War II to South America and Europe. He was coaxed to Philadelphia’s pres­tigious University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 1947, where he determined that “original research, worldwide, interpreted for the educated public, was a tradition to be maintained at all cost.” During his tenure, The Univer­sity Museum launched some of the most important archaeologi­cal expeditions of the twentieth century: the excavation of major Mayan sites, including Tikal in Guatemala; historic finds at Hasanlu in Iran and at various sites in the ancient Near East, including Nippur and Nimrod; work in Afghanistan and Pakistan; work at Kourion on Cyprus; the Nubian salvage campaign and excavations at Abydos in Egypt (see “Cur­rents” in the summer 1993 issue); biblical archaeology in Gibeon; digs at Palenque in Mexico, in the western United States, and in Peru; excavations of Roman ruins at Sybaris; probings in Italy, France, and Morocco; and the revolutionary excavations at Ban Chiang in Thailand. At the time the author was digging, he was vitally interested in modern technology and modern communications, and the ways in which the two might enhance a broader appreciation and understanding of archaeology. These interests led to the creation of the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA), where the latest techniques-including carbon 14 dating-were applied to unearthed materials. They also prompted the archaeologist’s great experiment with televi­sion; the resulting program, “What in the World,” surprised everyone by its success and popularized archaeology through the mass media. “What in the World” was broadcast from the CBS studios in Philadelphia for fifteen years, introducing individuals and artifacts from the extensive collections of The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to millions of viewers throughout the country. Now in his mid-eighties, Froelich Rainey reflects on his years of adventure and discovery by recalling remark­able tales and continuing to pose unanswerable questions. The reader accompanies him on an astonishing narrative journey through time and space, stopping with him along the way to make friends, gather supporters, and ponder the meaning of things, particularly the rapid changes of this century and their impact on the future. As an anthropologist with a keen interest in culture in its diverse manifestations, Froelich Rainey, who served as the director of The University Museum for more than thirty years, shares his unique perspective on the changes that occurred as the knowl­edge of the world expanded so rapidly throughout his life. Reflections of a Digger: Fifty Years of World Archaeology is a world class memoir.


“…Drive the Road and Bridge the Ford…”

by Paul E. Gill
Cumberland County Historical Society, 1992 (151 pages, cloth, $24.95)

Examining the legal, political, and technological aspects of highway bridge­-building in nineteenth century Cumberland County, “…Drive the Road and Bridge the Ford…”: Highway Bridges of Nineteenth Century Cumberland County features vintage and contempo­rary photographs, drawings, and engineering specifications of spans throughout this Central Pennsylvania county. An introductory section helps the reader to understand and appreciate the wealth of high­way bridges that once dotted the Cumberland Valley’s gently rolling countryside and served its cities and villages. Nine­teenth century documents show that county officials were involved in the construction of at least eighty-eight bridges spanning the area’s major streams, including the Conodo­guinet, the Yellow Breeches, Big Spring and Middle Spring. The first spans built with county funds were stone-arch bridges, such as those built over Letort Spring in Carlisle and Branch Creek in Shippens­burg. The most popular bridge style in nineteenth century Cumberland County was the arch-truss covered bridge, of which forty-eight were built. Beginning in the 1860s, county officials took an interest in iron bridges, which were built by the Mosley Iron Bridge Company, the Continental Bridge Company, the Pitts­burgh Bridge Company, the Wrought Iron Bridge Com­pany, and others. “…Drive the Road and Bridge the Ford…” not only chronicles the history of the bridges that represent an important aspect of life and work in Cumberland County, but it offers a valuable perspective on how and why bridges were constructed in certain locations. Through more than two hundred photographs, this book graphically documents the role that bridges – no matter their style – have played in the county’s transportation, settlement, and economic development.